Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Liam Prenderville

Snooker chief warns stars could face LIFETIME bans if found guilty of match-fixing

Snooker chief Jason Ferguson has warned players face a lifetime ban if they are found guilty of match-fixing.

As many as 10 Chinese players have been charged by the WPSBA after the biggest investigation into corruption in the sport's history. Six of those have been charged with match-fixing, including former Masters champion Yan Bingtao, with four other players charged with other offences.

An independent disciplinary tribunal will now be set up - likely to be in March over two weeks - to reach a verdict. Ferguson has long warned players found guilty will be handed the strictest of punishments and he has now reiterated his stance.

"It is a heartbreaking situation for those of us who have been in this sport for a long time and have worked to make it the great sport it is," WPBSA chairman Ferguson told ITV4.

"Our rules are very clear on this, it does say that for manipulation of the betting rules, up to a lifetime ban can be received by a player from this tribunal.

"It’s impossible for me to give an outcome, it is up to that independent sports tribunal to make that decision. We, on both sides, will have to abide by that decision."

Yan Bingtao is among the players charged with match-fixing (Colin Poultney/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

Ferguson admits the probe has damaged snooker somewhat and vowed to deliver a "pure sport" to fans around the world.

“We’ve been transparent all the way along in this process and we will again be transparent at the end of this to give the public and everybody watching the confidence that this sport is still great.

"Of course, there is short-term damage. It is not a great look for us. The process began back in October when information came to light regarding some manipulation of results.

"“We feel that each of those players has a case to answer for a breach of the betting rules and our conduct regulations and that is why we have moved to that prosecution stage.”

Zhao Xintong celebrates winning the UK Championship just over a year ago (PA)

The other players charged with fixing a match or matches are Lu Ning, Zhang Jiankang, Chen Zifan, Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo.

Former UK Championship winner and world No.9 Zhao Xintong, 25, has been charged with being concerned with fixing matches, and betting on snooker.

It is the charges for Zhao and 22-year-old Yan, the world No.16, that will be the most shocking – two players seen as a huge part of the game’s future.

Former English Open winner Liang Wenbo has been charged with approaching players to fix matches, being concerned with fixing matches, and seeking to obstruct the investigation. Li Hang faces those same counts.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.